“Our Day Out” was created by Willy Russell to showcase the problems associated with British education, specifically he focused on under privileged students. The cliff top scene show how the limited teaching style of Mr Briggs, is not the best way to teach students like those of the progress class. Throughout the play Mr Briggs is portrayed as an icy, strict and disciplined teacher, whilst Mrs Kay is made out to be a mother hen, a nice woman that people like. However in this scene Briggs is forced to re examine his teaching style and change very dramatically in order to avert a catastrophe.
Prior to the incident on the cliff top, Willy Russell has convinced the audience that Briggs is simply bossy and authoritarian, but standing on the cliff top with Carol Chandler, causes the character of Briggs to try to be more caring and considerate whilst remaining in control. On the beach, before anyone realises Carol is missing Briggs is sat on a rock, distant from the group, showing his discontent with the trip, when Mrs Kay tries to speak to him in a polite manner that is in no way inconsiderate. However when Briggs realises he has to speak to her he makes a conscious decision to try and make as little interaction with her as possible.
”No I Haven’t” rushing through a sentence is not normally what Briggs does, but here he is in such a foul mood with Mrs Kay he doesn’t want to be unprofessional and tell her to get lost but he really wants her to leave him alone. Seemingly Briggs is the sort of person that holds grudges and sometimes lets them get in the way of his work, as he clearly has not forgotten about the argument he and Mrs Kay had at Conwy Castle. Untrusting is a word I would use to describe the character of Briggs, as he says to Mrs Kay ”You mean you have lost her?
” in a sort of angered, finger pointing manner that sounds to me like he isn’t surprised someone has gone missing and shows, momentarily, no remorse or worry as he feels that this could remove Mrs Kay from the teaching staff. Making out that the loss of Carol, is all Mrs Kay’s fault, shows how wicked Briggs could be if he wasn’t so professional. Moreover in this scene Briggs seems very deceitful and intentionally evil as he knows Mrs Kay is trying to keep the rest of the children away from the situation, by talking in a very hushed manner.
I believe Briggs becomes louder and louder to try and induce mayhem, as he feels the head will take his work over that of Mrs Kay, Colin and Susan. Obviously Briggs has no confidence in his fellow colleagues as he questions their abilities by saying ”It’s a wonder you haven’t lost half a dozen of them! ” This sentence is written in such a way that makes me think that Briggs is massively egocentric and believes he is in no way ‘in the wrong’ for the disappearance of Carol Chandler and thinks the rest of his workmates will take the blame.
Yet when he realises that the head appointed him to ensure the trip ran smoothly, and that he would bear the brunt of the blame, he begins to frantically search for Carol in an attempt to cover himself. When Briggs finds Carol Chandler on the cliff top he seems to be a little bit out of his depth as he is completely taken back by the stubborn Carol. ”Don’t you come near me! ” ”Pardon? ” He is so set in his routine of ‘do as I tell you to’ he forgets children are not robots and is so shocked at Carol that he is, for the first time, lost for words.
I think Briggs is a bit of a one trick pony up until this point, but he soon realises Carol is not going to be bossed around. At this point of the play Briggs should be sympathetic and lure Carol away from the cliff but he is too wrapped up in himself to realise he is being selfish. ”Just what are you trying to do to me? ” This rhetorical question shows how he doesn’t know how to be nice without turning their suffering into something painful for him. The way he does this makes me feel like he doesn’t care about the kids and is only saving Carol to keep himself in employment.
As well as being self centered, he also tries to cover up any problems by making out that he is a loving person. ”Carol please come away from there” he starts to ‘fake beg’ to get Carol away and to try and get her to forget about why she was on the cliff. This again shows how he cares mainly for himself, as he thinks, by being nice to everyone, they will forget about any failings within the trip, so there will be no questions asked about whether he should keep his job.
Briggs character is very diverse as he is very nice and friendly to the kids when he wants them to forget about Carol’s cliff top incident, but when he is alone he show his real character. By his real character I mean a person that is all work and no play, a man that can’t switch off, a man that is so wrapped up in being a respected and reared deputy head, he would hate people to see him enjoying himself as it would take away from his menacing demeanour.
Ultimately I think, that Willy Russell has made Mr Briggs the way he is, a self centred, dictatorial, to show viewers how most teachers in England are either too dominant, or too laid back and that something needs to be done to balance our education. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.